Winter Safety Tips

By Children’s Hospital Boston’s Injury Prevention Program

Whether sledding, skating, building snowmen or making snow angels, children love to play outdoors in the winter weather. With these basic winter safety tips, your child can enjoy a safe and fun winter.

Dress Warmly

Use Caution Near Ice
Although it's tempting for kids to play or skate on a frozen pond, it's important that they never go on or near frozen water unless they have an adult's approval.

Keep Clear of Snowblowers
Teach children that only adults should use snowblowers. Children can become seriously injured or killed by being caught in snowblowing machines.

Prevent Winter Sports Injuries

Keep Free from Frostbite and Hypothermia
Children are more susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia than adults. Be aware of the symptoms and know how to treat your child if either occurs.

Frostbite occurs when soft tissue, usually in fingers or toes, freezes. There are several stages of frostbite. If severe enough, frostbite can require amputation, but most often no permanent damage will occur if the skin is warmed up carefully.

Symptoms of frostbite include:

What to do

If a child complains of numbness or pain in her fingers, toes, nose, cheeks or ears while playing outdoors, check to see if her skin is blistered, hard to the touch, or glossy. If so:

Hypothermia occurs when too much heat escapes from the body and body temperature drops lower than the normal 98.6° F. While severe hypothermia can cause internal organ damage or lead to death, it is generally not something to be concerned about unless a person is trapped outdoors or in cold water for an extended period of time without proper protection.

Symptoms of hypothermia include:

What to do:

Why Winter Safety is Important
Winter can be a fun season for children, but hospital emergency rooms and their doctors see too many children with head injuries, broken bones and other serious winter injuries. Avoid visits to your local emergency room by helping your child stay safe while having fun during the winter.

Children's Hospital Boston’s Injury Prevention Program is committed to decreasing the incidence of injuries through community-based education efforts and resources. For more information go to


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